Said to have Arab origins Suleimani tea was brought to the southern Malabar Coast by traders. In Arabic, the name Sulaiman translates to “man of peace” and the beverage originally called ‘Ghava’ was prepared with dates and black pepper without the addition of tea. As time passed dates were replaced with sugar, and tea was added to the drink along with the addition of other local spices. However, if you are interested the authentic Arabic ghava can still be found in the old city of Hyderabad. In winter tea stalls in and around Barkas of the old city offer you a piping hot cup of ghava that you can experience.
It was in Malabar that ghava started being called 'Suleimani Chai’ and first started brewing in the hilly areas of Munnar, famous for its tea plantations. Freshly brewed tea leaves to a beautiful shade of amber, Suleimani Chai is made without milk, infused with refreshing mint, cardamom, cinnamon, and served with a tangy dose of lemon that invigorates you with a pleasing aroma. It is the most common Chai consumed in Kerala.
Suleimani Chai is considered a great digestive drink and is often served after heavy meals, such as biryani throughout the Malabar region. It is a crucial part of marriage menus in the Mappilah Muslim community of Kerala. After an elaborate and heavy meal at weddings, guests eagerly welcome a Suleimani served in tiny glasses. This sunset-colored chai has today become an integral part of the life and culture of the people of Kerala.
Suleimani Chai, brewed with mixed spices and tea leaves is very simple to make at home. Here the flavor of the tea leaves is very mild and it is the rest of the spices used that make the tea very refreshing. You can make your own favorite Suleimani by following a few simple steps.
Bring 3 cups of water to boil in a pot. Add crushed ginger and boil for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.
Take 3 cloves, 1-inch Cinnamon piece, 2 green cardamoms, pound them coarsely and put the spices in the pot to boil for another 3-4 mins on medium flame.
Then you add a tsp of tea powder and continue boiling for a couple of minutes till the tea changes color and you can feel/smell the flavor.
Remove the pot from flame and strain the tea onto serving glasses and serve hot immediately.
Sugar or sweetener may be served separately to be used as per individual taste. Alternately can be added to the pot to taste before straining.
Lemon slices may also be made available for those who wish to put 2 to 3 drops to enjoy a tangy taste.
You should remember Suleimani chai is enjoyed without milk.
Suleimani Chai being black tea has all the goodness and health benefits of drinking black tea. It is rich in anti-oxidants and natural spices that are known to help in digestion and in improving gut health. It also helps in keeping your heart healthy by reducing the bad LDL cholesterol.